VICE: Andrew W.K. on Keeping Your Cool

Andrew W.K. on Keeping Your Cool | VICE

Around this time last year, my band and I went to perform in Anchorage for the first time. Until then, we’d been to every state in the Union except Alaska, and it was very exciting to finally check this noble land off our US touring bucket list. Generally while on a tour, I’ve often been what you might call “a stick in the mud.” I haven’t enjoyed traditional sightseeing in the cities we’ve gotten to visit. I could mostly be counted on to stay in our bus or the hotel room. This is not due to any lack of enthusiasm or appreciation for the particular city we were in, but largely due to an unshakable focus and all-consuming apprehension about the looming performance.

But Alaska was different.

For some reason, I had become obsessed with seeing the Northern Lights and was absolutely determined to make a separate journey during this trip to experience this legendary natural phenomenon. That night, we played our show and went back to our respective rooms to shower and change. I fell asleep. When I woke the next morning, I realized I’d missed the opportunity to see mother nature’s greatest natural light show. I was so, so angry.

I had to go straight to the airport to catch the flight back to New York City, and I descended further into what became a full-blown foul mood. I was flying by myself, and the contrast of the busy airport with my own desolate malevolence was enhancing the feelings of isolation and darkness. I boarded my flight after a couple of delays, exhausted and grumpy with self-loathing, when finally it looked like I’d caught a break. It seemed I’d have an entire row of seats to myself.

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